Review – Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril (Xbox One)

After reviewing games for the past five years, I thought I had seen it all when it came to modern ports and remasters. I never thought I’d ever see a straight port of a NES game being released exclusively to the Xbox One, let alone one that started out as a homebrew NES cartridge originally released in 2010. Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is clearly inspired by the likes of old-school Metroid and Mega Man, but I’d love to know why this was initially ported for the Xbox One and not the Switch, the one place where the damn thing would thrive. I guess I’ll never know, so let’s see if the four or five NES homebrew enthusiasts who are also hardcore Xbox One gamers will enjoy this very odd re-release.

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril Designs

The level sprites are good and all… but I can’t ignore how silly my main character looks.

After an unnecessarily lengthy, exposition-heavy intro, where the action is constantly alternating between action-deprived platforming sections and underwhelming static cutscenes, you’re thrown into the main game proper. Which is not exactly a carbon copy of Mega Man like Mighty No. 9 is. There is just one level in the entire game: a huge, sprawling, metroidvania styled level. You’re free to explore and tackle each boss in any order, since your only means of attacking enemies is a really basic laser blaster. You can get some power-ups throughout your journey, but they act as platforming buffs and health increments.

The controls feel exactly like the ones from old-school Mega Man games, for better and for worse. Yes, all you need to do is jump and shoot enemies, but you also need to struggle against an occasionally unfair hit detection system, courtesy of the limitations of the NES era. You also need to get used to a really poor button placement, which is shocking when you consider the fact there are only two action buttons being used throughout the entire game. Instead of placing the shooting action on the X button, like logic dictates, Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril has you pressing B in order to do so. It’s not comfortable, not ideal, and is quite a nuisance at first.

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril

Mega Man meets Metroidvania. Nice concept. So-so execution.

Whether these issues were mistakes or intentional design decisions in order to remind us of the unfair difficulty curves of the NES era remains to be seen. Sadly, Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril suffers a bit as well when it comes to its presentation. It’s a mixed bag. Some of its artistic elements look decent for an 8-bit game, such as its environments, level design, and bosses. However, its normal grunts, NPCs, and most importantly, the main character himself, look beyond cheap, as if they were part of a completely different game, such as an amateurish bootleg. The soundtrack isn’t very impressive, either. The problem with 8-bit soundtracks is that there is no middle ground: it’s either bad or really good. Battle Kid‘s loud and abrasive tunes fall into the latter.


The bosses look so much cooler than any other character in the game. They almost feel like they came from another game altogether.

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is a competent attempt at recreating the look and feel of the NES era, but even then I don’t think it is that impressive, especially considering it’s already twelve years old. Some of its issues, namely the hit detection, infuriating initial difficulty spikes and button placement are hard to ignore, even when taking its system limitations into account. Furthermore, why is this currently an Xbox One console exclusive? Release this bad boy on the Switch and enjoy the immediate success.


Graphics: 5.5

Environments and bosses look decent for an 8-bit game, but normal enemies, NPCs, and your main character look beyond cheap.

Gameplay: 6.0

It is hard to screw up the button placement in a port of a NES game, but Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril did so with honors. X doesn’t shoot, B does. It doesn’t feel natural at all.

Sound: 5.5

Loud and abrasive, and certainly not very memorable. The problem with 8-bit soundtracks is that there is no middle ground: it’s either bad or really good. Battle Kid‘s tunes fall into the latter.

Fun Factor: 6.5

It’s a fun little retro game, but nowhere near as entertaining as its sources of inspiration, namely Mega Man and Metroid.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is available now on Xbox One and NES (no, really).

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril was provided by the publisher.